By Shea Ki
Do you feel like sometimes you ramble on in an interview? Or that you struggle with sharing engaging and concise examples about your abilities? It is a common pitfall of many people once their nerves get the best of them in the hot seat.
For many years, using the framework of STAR to structure responses became crazy popular in interviews, especially for behavioral style or situationally based questions. Before I get into the good, bad, and ugly of using STAR during your interview, here's a quick, general explanation of what it stands for:
S Situation you were in
T Tasks you were in charge of
A Actions you performed
R Results that happened
Confession: I might be one of the few to say this, but I have never been a fan of the STAR method.
As a hiring manager, I would notice right away when the STAR was being put in motion. It often increased the risk that the person I was interviewing sounded scripted or robotic, as many of their answers followed this dry format. But how could I blame those overusing it? All over the internet, many career development professionals, bloggers, and others were sharing the STAR framework everywhere.
Even today, if you do a google search on "STAR interview technique" the top links that come up are recycling the STAR information again-- and often making it look like it's a new, clever thing!
STAR is a supportive crutch to lean on sometimes at your interview. You will stand out more positively by learning how to tell your success stories with other engaging techniques.
For my clients who expect to interview for mid to senior level positions, STAR is usually too simplistic for impressing experienced hiring managers, recruiters, or executives. I help them avoid this snooze fest of interview responses and sounding like everyone else. Instead, we focus on mastering techniques that will build rapport and actively engage the person or people interviewing them.
I love helping the talented, high vibing women I coach discover how much more enjoyable it can be to use transformational storytelling, create responses for optimal engagement, and learn a variety of story formats that better illustrate their competencies.
That being said, I do share the STAR interview response technique with clients who are new to interviewing, on a beginner or intermediate level with the English language, or going for entry level positions. STAR can also be helpful if someone suddenly gets super nervous and starts to freeze up in the interview.
When I bring up the STAR method in my coaching sessions, I also share this Upgrade My Interview™ principle:
If you use the STAR framework, you must add in some of your own LIGHT.
I created a printable that helps those using the STAR method take it to the next level and experience more interview success. It includes questions that will help you tell better STAR stories rather than sticking only to what each letter stands for. I also share a way for you to remember what Brene Brown calls "courage skills", as many employers are looking for these during your interview.
Be sure to include one or two elements of LIGHT in many of your interview responses.
L Lesson Learned
LIGHT helps you unveil what the employer is interested in and drives the interview to a more meaningful, two sided conversation.
Want to help out others interviewing? When you hear someone using the STAR framework or when you share it, please also show the interviewer the LIGHT.
Their future in the the hot seat will thank you for the upgrade.
Your turn: What strategies do you use at your interview so your responses stand out positively from the competition? Share your ideas in the comments. It may help someone else upgrade their interview and shine in the hot seat.
Most of all, BElieve in YOUrself.
About the author
Shea Ki is creator of the Upgrade My Interview™ method. Her blend of practical tips and holistic activities helps women interview in a way that feels authentic and gets results. Learn more about her bio, background, and biz here. You can follow her on Instagram for career inspiration, interview tips, and the occasional lip-syncing silliness.